muneveo is in the top 150 of the European Startup Prize for Mobility
Please introduce yourself and your startup munevo to our readers!
Hi, I’m Konstantin Madaus, Co-Founder of muneveo and responsible for business and hardware development. munevo’s vision ist to empower people with disabilities by using smart technologies. Our first product munevo DRIVE is an innovative special steering control for electric wheelchairs, which is based on smartglasses.
How did you get the idea to munevo?
The idea for munevo was developed during a university course at the chair of business informatics at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Our goal was to develop a Google Glass app that would have a positive impact on the mobility of people in wheelchairs by providing a less stigmatising and more comfortable control system.
How difficult was the start and what challenges did you have to overcome?
As a small start-up, finding the financial resources to support your development is always a struggle. Luckily we were given the EXIST start-up grant which allowed us to focus on the product development and certification of the product. Certification itself is another big challenge. Being a medical product, munevo DRIVE needs to follow very specific regulations and guidelines. Meeting all requirements took us almost two years.
Who is your target audience?
Many people worldwide depend on a wheelchair. A large part of them are unable to move their wheelchair with their own hands due to diseases such as multiple sclerosis or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as well as spinal cord injuries. We help these people to have more freedom and a self-determined life.
What is the USP of your startup?
Our control system can be adapted to the user’s movement capabilities. It is very comfortable and less stigmatizing than other controls. And the user has access to smart functions. At the moment, the user can take and share photos and send an emergency message to a predefined contact. In the future, munevo DRIVE will enable users to control their smartphones, computers, smart home systems and robotic arms. Additionally, since the control system is worn on the head, it doesn’t matter how a user is sitting in the wheelchair, he or she always has full control of the wheelchair; the seating positions can always be changed which is not the case for a couple of other control systems.
Can you describe a typical workday of you?
There is no typical workday. That’s also what makes the start-up life so interesting. Almost every day is different, it all depends on the topics one is tackling. At the moment a large part of our focus is on sales, showing our product to dealers, clinics as well as the end users and testing with them. At the same time, we are developing the new features and looking at new markets.
Where do you see yourself and your startup munevo in five years?
As mentioned before we envision munevo to become a life assistant which empowers people to live independently by allowing them to control, communicate with and move in their environment. In five years we would love to have succeeded doing this in Europe as well as the US and Asia. Our solution is currently very much focused at the needs of people in wheelchairs. In five years, I can also see our products being used by other people to achieve similar or very different things. With the technology developing so immensely fast, it is difficult to imagine what it can do in five years. Whatever it is, we want to be part of it.
You are one of the top 150 European Startup Prize for Mobility. How is it going on?
Being nominated is a great honour and shows us that others also see the benefit our product will bring to wheelchair users around the world. We have been working on the market launch of munevo DRIVE since January 2019. Just two weeks ago, the first unit has been reimbursed by a health insurance company. This also motivates us to keep working hard.
What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Listen to the market, does your product solve a need?
Resilience, believe in your product and stay on it.
Everything takes longer and costs more than expected, plan accordingly.
More information you will find here
Thank you Konstantin Madaus for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.